Maybe your office isn't Google's, that houses on-site health food restaurants at which employees can eat free, optional stand-up desks or an all-inclusive gym complete with a dance studio. But there are perks that small business owners can offer to make their employees happier and healthier, and keep health insurance premiums down.
“In addition to things like ROI, there are less quantifiable but equally important benefits, like improved morale – and employees who are just plain happier,” says Maggie Thorison, Wellness Manager for TOPS, a non-profit, non-commercial weight-loss support organization founded in 1948.
Here are six easy ways that business owners can promote healthy habits in your small office.
1. Bring back recess. Scheduling short breaks daily or weekly can help employees get moving and help break up long meetings with movement. However, schedule a 'recess' in the first third of the meeting. Waiting until halftime or later can alienate employees who'd rather power through the rest of the meeting, instead of stopping.
2. Make exercise part of your company culture. Provide bike parking to inspire employees to ride their bicycles to work. Start a walking club that meets during the lunch hour or mid afternoon, when the 3pm slump hits. Negotiate group rates for gym memberships at a nearby club.
3. Provide healthy food. Ask your vending machine operator to replace a few poor-selling candy items with healthy snacks, such as dried fruit, nuts, granola bars and power bars. Place water coolers throughout the office's high-traffic areas, where employees are most likely to visit for hourly water bottle refills.
4. Help reduce stress. Offer to bring in a massage therapist after high-stress deadlines have passed, or schedule a monthly visit at negotiated rates for employees, if your office is too large to cover the expense.
5. Conduct meetings on-the-go. When possible, schedule walking meetings or brainstorming sessions. Be cognitive of your employees' physical limitations while encouraging them to try this new meeting style.
6. Purchase some stability balls as desk chair alternatives. This helps improve an individual's balance and tones core muscles, while providing a fun alternative for extra seating.